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Pandemic worries keeping you awake? Insomniac doctor shares the tips that work for him

Dr. Brian Goldman says these five things can improve your nightly rest and help you cope with sleeplessness.
By: Alison Larabie Chase
December 15, 2020
Dr. Goldman tries to get some shut-eye. Photo: Andrew Nguyen/CBC
Dr. Goldman tries to get some shut-eye. Photo: Andrew Nguyen/CBC

Sleep is when we get to recover from the day and hopefully escape our worries for eight hours. But what if we can’t get to sleep – or stay asleep? Dr. Brian Goldman, a physician who hosts the CBC podcast The Dose, says we might need to work harder at getting good sleep when times are troubled. It’s not as easy as just lying down and closing our eyes. Dr. Goldman, himself a long-time insomniac, shared five tips that can help you get more and better-quality sleep or learn to deal better with those times when it’s just not happening.

First, make your bedroom a cool, dark, device-free zone. No phones, tablets, laptops or smartwatches in your sleep space means no blue light, which keeps us awake and alert.

Second, make sure it’s quiet. If you can’t avoid ambient noise because of neighbours or the schedules of other family members, use earplugs and a white noise machine.

Third, set a sleep schedule and stick to it (weekends too). This is the part that requires dedication, but it pays off when you wake in the morning feeling truly rested.

Fourth, stop trying to fall asleep after a brief time (say 20 minutes) and do something calming and non-stimulating, like reading or mindfulness breathing, then try again.

Finally, if you really can’t fall asleep, do something positive with the time, like exercising, catching up on work, or some self-care.

Source: CBC Radio

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